Mark Hartel


“I want it all, I want it now” – What to buy when on a budget

Hey everyone! Just like most of you I'm really excited to see what changes Ultra Prism is about to bring to our metagame. Alex covered the most important cards and other than a couple of quick side notes there's not much to add, so instead I'm going to cover a topic that I think has been slept on a little bit: what to buy when there's a new set coming out when you're on a budget.

“The Pro Play Bible” – Doing Everything You Can To Win

Hey everyone! It's now been three straight weeks of Expanded deck analyses and I think it's time for something a little different. Today's article is going to be a catch-all article on things you can do to win at tournaments of all kinds: local, regional, international, small, big, before, during and after playing. It's meant to be a bit of a handbook on things a good player should do if they're looking to maximize their % of W's.

“Expanding Zoroark” – Zoroark Variant Analysis and the re-return of Gyarados?

Hey guys! The upcoming US Regionals in Dallas is Expanded, which means articles will be focusing on exactly that format for a bit. Last week Alex covered Night March and its counters pretty elaborately, so this week I'm going to cover the other most dominant card in Expanded: Zoroark. Alex covered Zoroark a while back, mostly focused on the decks it was in for San Jose. I'm going to go over the basics of Expanded (instead of Standard) Zoroark real quick as well as the way the game has shaped around it, how I think players will go about beating it and I've got a variant of Zoroark of my own that I think has a lot of potential.

“Roc ‘n Roll” – Memphis Regionals Aftermath

The biggest Regional so far is behind us! 999 players went through the grinder, showing that Pokémon still will not stop growing. And to think that this number could have been even bigger if it weren't for the weather conditions before the tournament. Memphis is the last Regional of 2017 and it has also been the last Standard Regional until St Louis in February, but for the sake of League Cups and keeping up with the metagame I will cover this tournament and its consequences for Standard.

“Matchups for Memphis” – Covering Gardevoir and Greninja

Hey guys! Memphis Regionals are coming up and although we've already spent some time covering the biggest decks of London, there's a couple more archetypes that we need to pay some attention to in order to give you the best possible overview. Some of these decks will look familiar, of course, as they've been discussed before, but now is a good time to revisit them since we haven't talked about them in-depth for a while. The best example of this is the hailed “broken deck”, also known as Gardevoir GX.

“A Riotous Beating of the Numbers” – Recapping London in Preparation for Memphis

Hey guys! First and foremost, apologies to everyone who was rightfully expecting another article to be out before the 21st. I had a load of real life issues to be sorted out (I'll spare you the details), but as a result we weren't able to get an article out in time for San Jose's Expanded Regionals. So with your permission instead of trying to catch up to a ship that's sailed..

“Don’t be Late for London” – Preparing for Internationals with Crimson Invasion

Hey everyone! There's just two weeks left until London Internationals, so it's about time we start preparing you for that if you're going. Or even if you're not, this article is going to be of use to you because it also aims to prepare you for other tournaments with the new set(s) as well, though the first American Regional after this (San Jose) is going to be Expanded.
Seviper Seismitoad

“Trash Memes” – Expanded Analysis on  Necrozma/Garbodor and Seismitoad/Seviper

Hey everyone! At the moment of writing it's the 20th of October, which means today Pokémon gave their quarterly announcement on rule changes. If you had no idea this happened or was about to happen, you're probably not the only one. Even though this is something they are going to be doing every three months, it hasn't even been half a year since they first announced their intention to do this.
Sableye Garbodor Expanded

“Day Two-Na” – The Case for Sableye/Garbodor in Daytona

Hey guys! Daytona is only moments away, so here's a last minute metagame analysis of Expanded. Fortunately Alex has covered the most important decks here in Night March, Turtonator/Volcanion, Turbo Dark, Golisopod variants and Gardevoir GX, Yveltal. Between those he's gone over most of the Top 8 of the Bilbao Special Event that was held last weekend, as that was won by Nico Alabas with Turtonator/Volcanion.

“Fun to play…but only for you” – Heatmor/Raichu/Victini Analysis

Last weekend I was at a Standard League Cup having a good time, when I saw someone next to me who didn't seem to be having one. The reason for this was because he was unable to attack every turn while his opponent was getting back things from the discard pile. Wondering if he managed to sneak a Sableye/Garbodor deck into a Standard event, I looked at what was across the field, but the colors on the field just didn't match the usual dark and psychic that you'd see with Sableye/Garbodor. Instead, there was a bunch of red and yellow...

“Burning Bugs” – Taking a Look at Ho-oh/Salazzle and Golisopod/Garbodor

Hey guys! So last weekend was the first Regional Championship in Europe with the most recent Standard ruleset in effect, and the playerbase got a pretty good look at what the greatest minds in the game were willing to bring in this format if there is real money on the line. Unsurprisingly, the star Pokémon of the weekend all have their name start with a G: Garbodor, Gardevoir, and Golisopod.